Nova’s Tim Blackwell will launch a new podcast next Monday, called Introducing.
Blackwell is one of the Nova Network’s most respected music journalists and the co-host of Kate, Tim & Joel drive show. He has been chatting to musicians for over 18 years since joining Nova in 2001.
His experience and a passion for connecting audiences with artists takes shape in the new podcast series, presented by Nova Podcasts and produced in partnership with Pro Podcast Production.
Each week Tim will chat to some of Australia’s most talented artists and bands including Yungblud, Tyne-James Organ, Haiku Hands, Peking Duk, The Delta Riggs and DMA’s in the new six-part podcast series, with new episodes released every Monday.
Tim talks to radioinfo’s Peter Saxon.
“I’ve been lucky enough with my radio job to be making a radio show that I truly enjoy and I’ve been doing that for a long time with people that I’ve loved,” says Blackwell, but there was something missing, longer form interviews with bands that he admires.
Blackwell admits to being a music groupie, so this new series is perfect for him. “I go to a lot of live music with friends, to festivals, as much as I can, so I thought, what can I turn this love of music into… I have really enjoyed the first six episodes I’ve done. If other people like them, then that’s great. It’s a passion project for me.”
What is the best podcast length?
For Blackwell, it is not about the length but about getting the right content and the right mood, so episodes will mostly be between 20 to 40 minutes long. “I’m not giving any time constraints to the interview itself, but the editing process will be a little bit more rigorous than that. Yungblood, who’s my first episode, will be about twenty five minutes.”
It has taken quite some time to get the go ahead for the series because Blackwell wanted to be able to play the musicians’ songs in the podcast, so had to get various copyright clearances, because podcasts cannot routinely play music under current copyright arrangements.
“I want people to be compelled enough to listen to a chat with someone they might not have heard of before, because that’s part of the aim of this series. I want this to be a platform for them. You know, people that might not be able to come on the radio or go on a TV talk show, but still, I think, are talented enough to be heard.”
What are some of the the questions that make musicians open up to Tim?
He is “really passionate about getting them to play music on the podcast,” because he thinks it is important to share the music with the musician. He might ask them about a song that inspired them when they were young. “What was the song you heard as the kid that made you to sit up and want to do this for a living?”
“I really try to throw the notes away. We’re not doing it in a radio studio. We don’t have headphones on. I’m somewhere that makes them comfortable, so I’ve tried to just let the chat fly… That song they heard that made them realize they want to do this for a living has certainly got the best responses and the most varied responses so far.”
Blackwell reckons he has done about 2000 music interviews over the last 18 years, but he says he has had to re-learn the art of longer interviewing. “I’ve had to retrain myself to interview in a long form way. It’s a wonderful experience for me, I really enjoyed that part of it.”
Blackwell has been lucky enough to meet many of his personal music heroes during his career. One of them was from Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
“Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers was a huge one for me. That was one of my first music junkets too. I was at the Chateau Marmont in L.A. and Scar Tissue had just come out… the Stadium Arcadium album. So I took the album cover and I just made myself ask him to sign it. He said, well, you’ve been so generous and you’re a true fan.
“He said to me, before this interview was a German radio station who asked, if I could be any vegetable, which vegetable would you be? Then he says, it was lovely to have you come in and actually ask me about the music.
“He took the book away and then he got his people to send it back to me. I got it in the post two months later. He had written all this stuff in the front cover and he signed it and it was just amazing. So then when they came to launch the radio station in Perth, they said, Tim is in the line up. We’d love him to do the chat to launch the radio station. It was a lovely full circle moment. So, yes. I had been lucky enough to meet some of my heroes.”
He sees the connection to the artist’s creative pursuit as the thing that gets the best out of them. “This is something they make and you’re getting them to talk about it… very rarely has anyone disappointed, they’ve always kind of come to the party if I have made the connection.”
By the way, if Tim was asked that question about vegetables, his answer would broccoli.
As artists get more famous, they do fewer and fewer face to face interviews says Blackwell. “I’ve been in commercial radio now for almost 19 years. I remember interviewing Lady Gaga and Rihanna and Katy Perry in the studio early in their careers. Then the next time they come to the country and they’re a little bit more famous, they’ll do a phone interview. The next time you do a visit to their hotel with 100 other people. And the next time they come to Australia, no interview at all.”
Tim confides that he has always wanted to be in a band but “I’m 39 now and I feel, oh, God, I don’t think it’s going to happen anymore. So this is the closest I’m going to get to being in a band… They’ve all got something that makes their eyes light up and they jump out of the chair. That’s what I like to find.”
Introducing will be available on Nova Podcasts from next week.